An authentic Portuguese brunch boasting ocean views and diverse flavours that’s the epitome of Portuguese perfection.
Located on the 6th floor of the stunning Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai lies Tasca by José Avillez, a Portuguese restaurant from acclaimed chef José Avillez. The first restaurant opening outside of Portugal for Avillez shows Dubai’s culinary progression as a city that can compete on the culinary world stage. Avillez’ flagship restaurant Belcanto in Lisbon, Portugal, boasts two Michelin stars and was ranked number 42 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list 2019.
There couldn’t be a more apt fit for Tasca than the UAE’s first Mandarin Oriental property, providing a chic yet relaxed space on the Jumeira shoreline. The restaurant is no different and embraces diners with a well-thought-out design exemplified by an impressive dining space that is both intimate and inspiring. Accessed via a private elevator that exclusively services the restaurant, the door slides open to reveal a distinct loft-style environment. Jet black exposed brick walls and wooden cladding match the simple furnishings of this particular Portuguese tavern.
Tables follow the flow of the restaurant, taking on the shape of a horseshoe and wrapping around a central show kitchen where restaurant and bar become one. A team of chefs and mixologists work side-by-side concocting innovative beverages and Portuguese dishes, sharing the space and working in complete unison.
Vibrant turquoise glassware matches the infinity pool and ocean views that flank the restaurant’s exterior, while to the back lies a small private dining area and several seats looking out over the Dubai skyline and the towering Burj Khalifa.
Friday Brunch at Tasca has been designed with sharing in mind. Our keen waiter hails from Portugal and recommends a selection of dishes and beverages to help us embrace the sharing-style concept.
The food represents a contemporary take on Portuguese cuisine, taking many traditional elements and injecting them with a distinctly modern twist. Beginning with the seafood, we thoroughly enjoy the subtleties of the cavala em escabeche, a dish of marinated mackerel and the cod cake with garlic and lemon emulsion, which represents simplicity at its very best. With discreet nuances in flavour that complement one another admirably, the dish is so good that we order it twice!
Next up is a sharing selection of aromatic clams with coriander and garlic, black-eyed peas salad with tuna and the rich and hearty stewed chicken gizzards with tomato, garlic and piri piri. It’s the grilled veal choriço, however, that leaves a lasting impression. Grilled tableside, the meat is smokey, tender and bursting with flavour.
Main courses offer roasted codfish with spinach and onion and grilled beef steak with mustard and pickles. The steak is prepared on the Josper grill before being sprinkled with salt and in truth, no sauce is required as the flavour from the premium meat is more than enough. However, the accompanying Tasca Fries are wonderful, thick-cut, fluffy inside and sprinkled with a spiced Portuguese seasoning.
Squeezing in the room for dessert as we gaze out over the ocean while listening to the sounds of the lively house band, we adore the traditional custard tart or pastel de nata, which at Tasca comes with a generous dollop of ice cream.
Tasca which means tavern in Portuguese, provides a laid back dining experience anchored around good food. It’s pleasing to witness such a refreshing culinary concept for Dubai and Tasca by José Avillez represents one of the first restaurants in the city to specialise in quality Portuguese food. Friday Brunch at Tasca is an inclusive and rewarding dining experience and one that is well worth checking out.
Brunch at Tasca occurs on Fridays, from 12:30pm to 4pm. AED 350 (soft beverages) and AED 450 (house beverages).
GO: Call (0)4 777 2231 for reservations and more information.